***I DON’T HAVE FIFA’S PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT TO USE, TALK, THINK OR EVEN YELL AT RANDOS FROM MY BALCONY ABOUT ANY NAMES, COUNTRIES OR EVENTS MENTIONED IN MY FIFA WORLD CUP QATAR 2022 COVERAGE, SO FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS FROM HERE ON IN, THE EVENT WILL BE REFERRED TO AS QLAMQTAR 2022.***
The Qlamqtar 2022 World Cup is only about two moons away (depending on your own set of lunar circumstances) and the first ever World Cup held in the Arab world promises to be a real doozy. World Cup history is a tale resplendent with stories of triumph against the odds, childhood dreams coming true and unsung heroes becoming legends. As well as dumb idiot losers, wanker fuck ups and teams that are just total bullshit.
But how shall ye learn about these legends, losers and teams that are just total bullshit? Well look no further my wayward friend as I profile all 211 FIFA nations eligible for World Cup qualification. Today, I take a look at Bosnia and Herzegovina, which has qualified for the World Cup once, in 2014.
BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
Not the good kind of three-way
Nickname: Zmajevi (The Dragons)
FIFA Ranking: 57 (August 2022)
FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualification result: Failed to advance from group stage (UEFA) finishing below France, Ukraine, Finland, and above Kazakhstan
Make no mistake, the three-way involving Bosniaks, Bosnian Croats and Bosnian Serbs is not the good kind of three-way. In fact, it may the worst kind of three-way possible as neither one of the three really wants to be involved with either of the other two. Despite this, Bosnia and Herzegovina have managed to bite the bullet in its short independent history and for a brief period, the three-way actually worked well enough it to even qualify for its first ever World Cup in 2014.
In the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign, the Bosnians all managed to just close their eyes and put up with the awkward three-way long enough to top their group ahead of Greece and Slovakia (among others) and then at the Finals in Brazil, it kept it going long enough to just lose narrowly to Argentina before finally having enough and bowing out of its first and still only World Cup, eliminated from contention from Nigeria in its second group match.
Although Bosnia and Herzegovina have only reached the solitary international tournament, its three-way has actually been kind of enjoyable for the The Dragons on more than one occasion. While it’s only gone all the way once, it hasn’t hasn’t had anything against going to third base on multiple occasions, losing to Portugal in the European playoffs of the 2010 World Cup and the playoffs for a spot at Euro 2012, to Republic of Ireland in the Euro 2016 playoffs and Northern Ireland in the Euro 2020 playoffs.
Home to one of the Balkan’s greatest ever players Edin Džeko (the country’s most capped and record goalscorer), and 2001 Champions League winner (and four-time Bosnian Footballer of the Year) Hasan Salihamidžić, Bosnia has belied its troubled infancy as an independent state and its current fractured and tenuous ethnic situation to get together and still make something beautiful. But with each member of its three-way growing increasingly restless and with the Bosniaks now more curious about trying it on with with Egypt, and Turkey, Bosnian Croats with their eyes on Europe and Bosnian Serbs toying with the idea of hooking up with Serbia and Russia, the three-way looks like it’s going to get much worse before it gets better, on and off the field.
One to watch: Where you step
A remnant of the Bosnian war in the 90s, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s landscape is still littered by thousands of landmines. In 2017, A total of 80,000 were estimated to still be uncleared across the country, so next time you’re in town, and feel like going for walk, just ask yourself: ‘How badly do I want to go for this walk, and is it really worth it?’*
*A great question to ask yourself before you do any exercise, really.
The Highpoint: Group stage, 2014 World Cup
Four years earlier than it should have, Bosnia and Herzegovina reached its inaugural major international competition, the 2014 World Cup. But even a defeat of Iran in its final group game wasn’t good enough to see them out of the group as the Dragons had already been eliminated following losses to Argentina and Nigeria. However, if they had just delayed their maiden trip to the World Cup another four short years, the Nigeria result and their World Cup result, overall, would have read very differently.
Against Nigeria, Edin Džeko scored a clearly onside first half goal that put them up 1-0, and after a dominant display throughout the entire match, Bosnia were not at all crestfallen and dejected by the denial of a clear goal and went on to win 1-0 and advance to the knockout stage. But they didn’t, because this was 2014, four years before the introduction of VAR in the World Cup.
The goal was ruled offside, Nigeria scored, Bosnia couldn’t reply and the game ended 1-0, meaning that due to their loss in their opener, Bosnia and Herzegovina were eliminated (before its 3-1 win over Iran) . Truly, reaching international football’s greatest stage in 2014, and not 2018, was Bosnia and Herzegovina’s biggest error.
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(SUPER) BULLSHIT FRIENDLY
19 Nov 22
RUSSIA 🇷🇺 x 🇧🇦 BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA